Founded on a "pipe dream" according to company CEO Bryan Gan, Comdev's vision has been to introduce to the world virtual computers and hosted desks, making installation on PCs a thing of the past. With the recent release of oDesktop, Gan told TopHosts his company is even closer to its ultimate objective.
The first-of-its-kind software – specifically designed for the web hosting industry – serves as a personal online desktop that mimics the behavior of Windows-like applications. It can be accessed from any Internet connection around the world on a subscription basis. Built-in features such as oDrive, oNetwork, oPhoto, oMusic, oEmail will allow users on the move to access their own personal desktop, from any browser, upload files, photos or music and even share them with others using a hosted oDesktop Network.
For Web hosting companies, SaaS products like oDesktop represent a new and exciting realm of product offerings, allowing companies to go beyond simply selling server space for websites and emails.
"The main focus currently in the (web hosting) industry is website hosting, web design, eCommerce and SEO," Gan said. "However, the industry has become extremely competitive which translates to lower profit margins, higher customer turnover rate." SaaS will eventually change the landscape for the industry. "
Through the SaaS model that oDesktop delivers, Gan says Web hosts can deeply expand the range of their business, access different market segments and stabilize user-turnover, which will in-turn ensure customer loyalty and return Web hosts to higher profit margins.
John Enright, Vice President of Marketing for Affinity Internet's hosting division, Gate.com, is in strong support of SaaS products like oDesktop because it allows users to utilize their Web hosting space in new and different ways.
"Products like oDesktop help Web hosts to move beyond simple Web pages and the fact is that these days network attached storage can be used for many things beyond just the Web," Enright said. "It's a great convenience for customers if they could have one company they can work with that can store their site, their images and provide their backups. Products like oDesktop makes this idea possible."
By enabling companies to host desktop PCs – from personal storage drives to email – many different types of applications can exist under one roof, Enright said, giving clients added convenience, and giving Web hosts many new hats to wear. Customers will no longer have to turn to different functional hosts, specializing in online photo storage for example, but can rather rely on just one multi-purpose Web host, supplying them with any type of storage necessary – "the way things are headed in the future, "Enright said.
Gan of Comdev says his new SaaS product also introduces exciting new aspects to security and mobility. End-users will no longer have to worry about updating security and having files exposed to hackers, viruses, or spyware on their PC. With a hosted desktop, Web hosts can supply customers with personal data protection and safe storage on their online desktop.
oDesktop also has the power to revolutionize business travel, Gan says. Rather than carrying a laptop, an external hard disk, or a pen drive, on-the-go individuals can simply log into their oDesktop personal account from any computer connected to the Internet. "The primary target audiences of oDesktop are the business travelers and frequent Internet user users that require mobility and the ability to access their data and files from anywhere in the world via the Internet," Gan said.
Matt Coy, owner of InFront Desktop.com, invested in the oDesktop system for his business. He thinks that one of the most exciting elements to oDesktop is it's an alternative to the current file-size limitations apparent today. He's set to launch his niche Web hosting or "Desktop Worldwide" operation through the new oDesktop model, and believes that it's only a matter of time for SaaS technology like Comdev's to really take shape.
"An example of our current limitations is in sending large files through email. As we progress our attachments are getting much larger," Coy said. "With a model like oDesktop you can upload a 2 GB file onto oPhoto, for example, and then invite your colleague to log in and get to that file through oNetwork."
With technology evolving the way it is, and file sizes getting bigger and bigger, end-users are presented with more obstacles Coy said. oDesktop provides an alternative to emailing humongous files or having access to FTP sites, and it allows Web hosts to sell more server space quickly.